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Monthly Archives: July 2012

My Olympic Hero

As we anticipate the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics, athletes are being interviewed and featured all over the TV. Today I’m going to feature MY Olympic Hero!

Jordan Mouton

Here is her story:

I am 23 years old (as of yesterday) and have been practicing Judo for 6 years, but have geared my life towards sports ever since I could walk. I was born with no vision problems and found out at the age of 8 that I would one day lose all of my sight and be completely blind. I played soccer from the ages of 4 to 12 and only gave the sport up because I could no longer see well enough to keep up with the game. At 12 I was not going to be stopped by the slow loss of my sight, and was determined to find a sport I could excel in with my limited vision. I tried a number of different sports but none of them kept my interest for very long.

At the age of 16 I was introduced to Judo. I fell in love with the sport, and the rest is history. Since then I have dedicated my life to excelling in Judo in hopes that I may one day represent my country in the Paralympic Games. I have been training at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs off and on for the past few years in preparation to qualify for the London games.

I have qualified and have secured my spot in the 57 KG (125.6 lb) division to compete in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. I am currently training and preparing to reach my goal of not only competing at the London games, but bringing home the gold for the USA!

You can read more about her here.

We love you Jordan and are cheering for you!!! Bring home the GOLD!

While we are inundated with stories about the Olympic Games, America is just starting to recognize the Paralympic Games. Did you know it is the second largest  To read more about the Paralympic Games, go here.

 

 

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The Words Were Stuck

It takes time for her thoughts to form words. Before words come, the expression on her face tells you she is thinking. If she knows you will sit and listen, she will go through the painful process of trying to form words. I say it is painful because I can’t imagine it to be an easy thing to talk for over 80 years, then lose the ability. It takes time for her thought to form words. Most people miss it.

There is faulty and lengthy process for words to form then work their way to her lips. Often, the wrong word comes out and she has to correct herself. When the words finally escape the prison of her mind, they are murky and hard to decipher. Hazel is only able to say one or two words. Her few words have to convey a complete thought. It takes time. Most people miss it.

There is also a game of charades that comes with the words. Her wrinkled, curved finger points and motions as she wheels her chair around to help convey her thoughts. Her movements are not slow, but clever. Her motions show an active mind. A mind that wants to communicate. But communication now takes time. Most people miss it.

Hazel now requires extra care. People are busy. It’s hard to make time. It’s even harder to sit and wait for the communication to take place.

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:26 – 27

Serving and loving others brings blessings to our lives. It takes time. Most people miss it. Sitting and talking to Hazel may not be as easy as it once was, and it definitely takes longer. But the blessing. Oh, the special, uplifting blessing! The twinkle in her eye and her crooked smile is pure and faultless, a reminder to not let the pollution of the world render our religion worthless.

It takes time. Most people miss it.

Don’t miss the opportunity –  build and maintain bridges with orphans and widows.

I know I’m guilty of going to nursing homes for the annual Christmas Carol singing. The kids sing, I hug a few necks and quickly leave, uncomfortable seeing so many needs. I feel good, like I’ve done my duty. I haven’t. I did not follow James 1:26. It was worthless religion. I just threw a stone at a bridge. I didn’t build or maintain any relationships. So what am I going to do now? Honestly, I don’t know. I do know that when God opens our eyes to a situation, he provides a way to serve.

My kids haven’t been to a midnight showing of a movie before. But they had the opportunity to go to Dark Knight. They actually haven’t even seen any Batman movies, but wanted to go. My brother-in-law took a van load of kids. I worried about them staying up late, car accidents, or them seeing violence on the big screen. Never did a thought about violence in real life cross my mind.
I can not fathom what the people and loved ones of those in Theater 9 are going through.

Here are the words of someone who was there.

A MINIATURE CLAY POT

July 22 – a note of explanation

I’ve tried to leave this post just as it was originally written because it was a heartfelt response after a very traumatic experience.  But I’m sometimes clumsy with words and even when I think I am writing clearly, there is always the reader who doesn’t know my heart or doesn’t hear the words the way they were intended.

I feel as though a few people have taken what I said and twisted it. When I wrote my post on Friday, I had a grand total of eleven blog  followers. Yes, eleven. I generally post on facebook and have had a loyal little group of readers that numbered thirty or so. That is who I generally write for.  People who know me  know that I dislike talking on the telephone. I’d pretty much rather clean a toilet than spend time on the phone. I…

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A Stranger’s Prayer, a Waterpark, and Miracles!

Our summer plans involved lots of frugal activities. By frugal, I mean FREE. When I found out my nieces and nephews were coming into town, I wanted to do something very memorable. My first thought was to splurge and get tickets to the waterpark near us. Then I priced the tickets. At first I thought, we can do that! We haven’t spent much this summer on fun stuff, it’s about time we treat our kids to something fun! I talked to my sister and the kids and everyone was on board. Then reality hit. There is NO WAY we could pull off $350 for all the tickets. Plus parking. Plus snacks. My sister and parents offered to help. Then, I told them how much. After the large gulp, they said they would still help. It just didn’t feel like a good decision.  I couldn’t fathom spending that much for a day of activity – even if my parents and sister pitched in to help. I cancelled the plans and we decided to hang out at a pool. (Insert a sarcastic “yay” right here.)

The week before the cousins came in town, our church had a family VBS. On the second night we walked in to see a door prize containing tickets to a local water park. THE waterpark. I looked at it longingly, but didn’t count on winning. I’ve been known to be at an event where they have doorprizes for all but a few people… and I’m one of the few… that don’t win.

During VBS that night, a stranger asked to pray with our family. She was one of the prayer partners for the event and prayed a special prayer with us. She specifically prayed financial blessings on us. It felt strange having her pray that – and I immediately felt a tingle in my Spirit, like God was saying “Just Watch.”

After the prayer, the very next event in VBS was the announcement of the door prize. As they were walking the basket to the stage, I felt a nudge to pray. I said no. I mean, I NEVER win those things. I felt the nudge again, so I prayed something like “God, that sure would be cool, but I get it that I don’t usually win. I just hope someone who will really appreciate it wins.” And then – Our name was called!  I count it a true miracle. God sure showed me!

The day for the waterpark comes! I have eight excited kids. We packed lunches and water. My dad gave us some money for everyone to get a treat. That added another level to the excitement! (Remember, Happy Kid Day and Seven Tips for Saying NO? I don’t splurge on special treats much.) After paying for parking and a miscalculation on how much the tickets were, we were not going to have enough for each kid to have their own treat. I caught the miscalculation in enough time to run by the bank, but also prayed that God would continue to provide.

Let me insert a cool fact about the tickets – Usually when you win a family prize, there’s a standard package of four tickets. That’s great, unless you have a family of  six. The number of people I was responsible for getting tickets for – five. Guess how many tickets we won? Five. Coincidence? I think not.

As we’re standing in line to purchase tickets for my nieces and nephews, another small miracle occurs. The lady next to us gave us a coupon. One of those really really good coupons. The money we saved using the coupon, plus the money from my dad provided EVERYONE with a special treat. When it came time for the kids to spend their treat money, I was pleasantly surprised. Actually, I was SHOCKED. They didn’t spend all of it. They came back with change. A few of the kids decided to share their snacks. Did you catch that, they shared. Without prompting. It was a definite proud mom/aunt moment for me.

All day, I watched the joy on the kid’s faces. They didn’t complain, argue, or fuss. They took care of each other. My joy was complete. I felt my cup overflow. Floating down the lazy river, I prayed prayers of thanksgiving. I prayed for the stranger that prayed for us that night, for the people who gave the tickets, for the lady in line who gave us the coupons, and for my dad and sister who provided the rest of the tickets.

I’ve yet to tell you of the most meaningful miracles I experienced that day – My nieces and nephews. I love being with ALL of my nieces and nephews (I’ve been an aunt since I was ten and grew up with the older ones.) This visit, I saw significant life changes – miracles of the heart! I saw things in all four of them, but want to tell you about two of them. The oldest niece with me that day is almost 17. Her love for the Lord has been blooming this year. This summer she has already been on a mission trip and worked as a camp counselor. I knew she would be on fire for the Lord, but I didn’t expect to see her heart shine so much. I’ve seen kids on fire for the Lord, aglow with love and service for Him – usually with a glow that is lit brightly at camp then fades in reality. She had a different shine. It was real and deep. She went out of her way to help me or others. She gave up something she really wanted to do when she realized I needed help with the younger kids – and with a smile. I felt like I was seeing her come out of her cocoon into a lovely young lady with a servant heart. My nephew had a similar growth experience. He recently returned from church camp where he began his relationship with the Lord. I noticed a change in his life. The chains of frustration and anger that had bound him were gone. I saw a young man free of his past.

Celebrating Miracles – tickets to a waterpark and tickets to new life. Whatever your miracle – celebrate it! I am thankful for each miracle I saw that day. Building Bridges – Connecting Families – through miracles.

16 Years of Marriage – Cruising Through Life Together!

Our marriage is 16 years old. To honor that milestone, I have a few auto-observations.

1. Stay in the car. Before we married, Kevin and I made the commitment to never use the word Divorce. It is not an option.

2. Who’s in the drivers seat? We strive to let God be the one in the driver’s seat, but it’s not always how it works out. He’s the safest driver. Next up: Kevin. I know that when I get in the drivers seat and try to control things – we are headed for a wreck FOR SURE!

3. He opens the door for me. Chivarly. I love it when he goes out of his way for me!

4. Follow a map! The map we follow is the Bible. Sometimes we have gotten off course, but when we get back on track, our marriage thrives.

5. Before you buy the car, read the owner’s manual. Before you get married, study who you are going to marry. Many churches and pastors require counselling before you get married.

6. Sometimes you have to take the car to a mechanic. If you have struggles in your marriage, seek help with counseling.

7. Enjoy the ride! Don’t keep waiting for the next stop, the next big event, the next raise, the next child… you might miss the blessings of today.

8. Keep your eyes on the road – Not in the rearview mirror. If you focus on what is in the past, you will miss what is yet to come!

9. Detours are inevitable. Be flexible and willing to change your route.

10. Sitting idle is a waste of gas. In marriage, idols (and addictions) are a waste of time and energy.

11. Fix a flat. Don’t let your marriage get flat. Keep things fun and fresh.

12. Routine maintenance.  Just like you change the oil and keep up with things under the hood of you car running smoothly, taking care of yourself and keeping healthy will help your marriage stay healthy and running smoothly too!

13. Drive safely and obey rules of the road. In marriage, there are rules that need to be followed too. Don’t be checkin’ under any other car’s hoods!

14. Keys – A key part of marriage is respect.

15. Take road trips! Spend time together – without kids. Regular dates and weekends away are very important.

16. It’s not about arriving at the destination, it’s all about the journey.

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